A Strange Death Bed Request Opened My Eyes To The Harsh Reality Of A Wasted Life

Many years ago, I worked for a large corporation.

The company manufactured electrical control parts, and my job was to support the salespeople and engineers by reading blueprints, creating a list of components, and pricing out the jobs. The salespeople called on customers, negotiated volume pricing, and managed distributors’ inventory.

Our team had several large clients who were loyal to the brand and the local service we provided. And then there was the “other” kind of customers — those who were only interested in getting a deal.

The bargain-hunters made purchasing decisions based on the lowest price, without regard to quality, warranty, or level of service. One of those challenging clients had a purchasing agent named Russ. Diligent in squeezing every last cent out of suppliers, Russ was a bottom-line guy — and all business.

Whenever he sent over a bid request, he demanded we stop everything and concentrate on generating a price quote. This usually meant lengthy phone calls to corporate marketing managers to justify competitive discounts. Most of the time we were successful and awarded the project.

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After years of working with Russ, he told one of our sales reps he had cancer.

He told our rep it was progressing rapidly, and he’d soon be hospitalized for treatment. But his condition didn’t stop him from working, and our office continued to receive his phone calls requesting bottom-feeder price quotes.


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